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FC Barcelona News: 16 December 2012; Tito Vilanova Praises Atlético Madrid, Mallorca's Terrible Run Continues

Angel Martinez

Vilanova: "In another league, Atletico would be the leader" | FC Barcelona
"Their points total says it all. We’ve made the best ever start to a league season and they’re only 6 points behind. In any other league they would be the leaders. They’re making a great start to the season and they finished in excellent form last season. Putting the two runs together is spectacular".

Preparing the Match of the Day | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona trained on Saturday morning at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training facilities in preparation for Sunday evening’s Camp Nou thriller against second-placed Atletico Madrid (9 pm). Tito Vilanova directed proceedings which, apart from the first team squad, included Tello from Barça B. Meanwhile, Alex Song worked out in the gym and Abidal exercised away from the main group.

Excitement returns with Atletico | FC Barcelona
Leaders Barça host second place Atletico Madrid on Sunday night with the visitors six points behind and it’s been 16 years since the teams last met as the top two in the league. That last meeting was in week 37 of the 1995/6 season when the Madrid team came to the Camp Nou with a three point lead at the top over Johan Cruyff’s team and Radomir Antic’s team virtually sealed the title with a 1-3 win.

Atletico have chance to redeem themselves against Barcelona after Madrid mauling -
Derby defeat proved desperately disappointing. Atletico Madrid went down with little fuss or fight at Santiago Bernabeu two weeks ago. It was supposed to be the night Diego Simeone's side came of age in La Liga, ended a wretched record against their city rivals and showed their title credentials. But the 2-0 loss left their fans frustrated instead - it was merely more of the same.

Benzema named French Footballer of the Year -
Karim Benzema has been named the French Footballer of the Year for 2012 ahead of Franck Ribery and a host of others, repeating his success of twelve months ago.The Real Madrid striker enjoyed an excellent 2011-12 season, scoring 21 times in La Liga as Los Blancos sealed a league championship, and spoke of his pride when collecting his award from Zinedine Zidane in Madrid.

Perez and Mourinho present united front at Real - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
"We have the best coach in the world with an impressive track record, who always demands the very best from his team," construction magnate Perez, who brought Mourinho to Spain in 2010, told a club event on Saturday. "He has been on the receiving end of unfair criticism and damaging comments and some have affected his dignity as a person.

Malaga down 10-man Sevilla - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
Malaga tightened their hold on fourth place in La Liga following a largely undeserved 2-0 victory away at Sevilla in the Andalucian derby. Sevilla dominated the first half, hitting both bar and post, but were undone after the break when Martin Demichelis converted with a header and Eliseu scored from the spot after Federico Fazio had been dismissed for a foul on Joaquin.

Canales close to Valencia return | Football Espana
"After all this time I am really desperate to play again," he told Super Deporte. "I know I have to be careful because I am only young, but I have a wild desire to play. "Hopefully in a month I will be discharged fully. I am almost in full training and the truth is that I am doing very well.

Bilbao edge out Mallorca | Sky Sports Football
Aritz Aduriz's 11th-minute header consigned Real Mallorca to their ninth defeat in 11 league games, but Athletic Bilbao were just as thankful to goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz for the three points as they moved nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Castro spot on for Getafe |
However, despite losing a man, Jose Mendilibar's men seemed set for all three points when Kike Sola weaved a way through the Getafe defence to slot home six minutes from time. However, Osasuna were cruelly denied a second away win of the campaign in the final minute of added time as Oier was harshly adjudged to have handled inside the area and Castro stroked home his fourth goal of the season.

Goalless in Granada |
Granada claimed a share of the spoils at home to Real Sociedad but failed to score for the fifth successive league game. In a match of precious few chances at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenas, the hosts bounced back from shipping four against Malaga last weekend and moved out of the relegation zone on goal difference after the stalemate.

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